Snowy conditions have forced the organisers of the Tour of the Alps to move the start of stage 2, shortening it by 40 kilometres. The stage had been due to go from Innsbruck to Innervillgraten, but organisers said that conditions on the first climb of the day, the Brenner Pass, were too dangerous.
The start has now been moved to the other side of the pass to Vipiteno, and will start at midday, an hour later than originally planned. It will then follow the remainder of the route and finish in Innervillgraten at around 15:30 CET. The removal of the Brenner Pass means that there is only one classified climb, the second category St. Justina, plus the uphill finish.
Moving the start means that the race will not cross the Europa Bridge, which forms one of the main routes out of Western Austria into the South Tyrol province in Italy. With the Tour of the Alps heavily linked to both Austria and Italy, crossing the bridge provided an element of symbolism for the organisers. Including it in the race took a lot of negotiations with the local government, but organisers said that there was no way of including it in stage 2.
“We are very saddened by the loss of this start, also for its symbolical meaning, but we realise there was actually no other choice," said Josef Margreiter, Director of Tirol Werbung and a board member on the organising committee. "The riders' safety must come first, so we totally agree with the UCI decision to shorten the stage."
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